GROUP 2 LEADERS AL SHORTA BREEZE PAST NAFT MISAN IN FIFTH STRAIGHT VICTORY
Marwan Husain scored a first-half brace as Iraqi League champions Al Shorta produced a scintillating first-half display to outclass Naft Misan and record a resounding 3-0 victory over them at the Al Maimuna Stadium.
Young Iraq international midfielder Mahdi Kamil scored the first goal on eight minutes with what was his first goal of the season, firing the ball into the bottom-left corner from just inside the area. Striker Marwan Husain made it two-goals-to-nil fifteen minutes later when he headed in a corner from Dhirgham Ismail (who was captaining Al Shorta for the first time in the absence of Amjad Kalaf and Hussein Abdul Wahid).
The Iraq striker bagged another on 37 minutes when he was put through on goal by Mahdi Kamil's pass, firing the ball past the 'keeper at the near post to make it three.
Already three goals up, Al Shorta took it easy in the second-half, maintaining their three-goal lead until the final whistle. Al Shorta are comfortably sitting on top of Group 2 and only need a few more points to secure their passage into the final stage.
Al Shorta must now turn their attention towards the AFC Cup, with the Police kicking off their AFC Cup campaign in Qatar against Bahraini side Al Hidd on 24/02/2015.
(Above photograph by Ammar)
ALAA ABDUL-ZAHRA BRACE SEES AL SHORTA OPEN UP SIX POINT GAP AT TOP OF GROUP 2
Two goals from Alaa Abdul-Zahra helped Al Shorta defeat Baghdad S.C. for the second time in eight days to go six points ahead of them in Group 2 having played two games fewer.
Al Shorta dominated the game from start to finish, and on 13 minutes Caion believed he had opened the scoring when he fired in a great effort into the top corner, but he was adjudged to have been offside by the linesman in what was a debatable decision.
Amjad Kalaf missed a golden opportunity a few minutes later when he fired a cut-back way over the bar, before seeing another effort go wide in an attempt to score his first goal of the season.
Al Shorta broke the deadlock with 19 minutes on the clock, when Dhirgham Ismail's cross was met by Alaa Abdul-Zahra who coolly lifted it over Iraq international goalkeeper Jalal Hassan and into the net.
They continued their domination into the second-half and Caion, who had another inspired performance, almost doubled the lead when he went through on goal but his effort rolled wide. Alaa scored his second of the game on 68 minutes when Caion brilliantly brought the ball down and laid it off perfectly for Alaa to skilfully blast the ball into the bottom left corner of the net and make it two.
Baghdad S.C. were gifted a way back into the game when 'keeper Mohammed Gassid was sent off for a collision with Redha Nasrallah and Lebanese player Mohammad Fawzi tucked home the resulting penalty, but Al Shorta held on for the three points as Ahmed Fadhel, currently on loan at Baghdad S.C. from Al Shorta, received a second yellow card in the third minute of injury time and substitute Marwan Husain saw a brilliant effort saved by Jalal Hassan at the end of the game.
Al Shorta, top of Group 2, are now six points ahead of Baghdad S.C., who are in second, with Al Shorta having played eight games and Baghdad S.C. having played ten. Duhok are in third place with fifteen points from eight games (seven fewer than the Police) and Al Shorta only need to finish in the top four of the group to advance to the final stage.
ALAA AND DHIRGHAM ENSURE AL SHORTA DEFEAT AL MINAA AGAIN AND REMAIN IN FIRST PLACE
Al Shorta defeated Al Minaa 2-0 in their first game outside of Baghdad all season, as goals from Alaa Abdul-Zahra and Dhirgham Ismail succumbed Al Minaa to their second defeat against the champions in one week.
After just eight minutes, Alaa Abdul-Zahra bagged his third goal of the season, glancing a great header over the 'keeper and into the net from Mahdi Kareem's cross.
However, it was Al Minaa who had the best chances in the game, and Al Shorta had goalkeeper Mohammed Hameed to thank for keeping the scoreline at 1-0.
2015 AFC Asian Cup star Dhirgham Ismail perhaps underservedly doubled Al Shorta's lead on 70 minutes with a brilliant goal as he accompanied a bursting run into the box with a calm left-footed finish.
Al Shorta held out for the victory, and maintained their position at the top of Group 2.
AL SHORTA TOP GROUP 2 AS TWO SET PIECE GOALS SECURE VICTORY OVER BAGHDAD S.C.
A Dhirgham Ismail penalty and Akram Jassim's first goal for Al Shorta were enough to defeat title rivals Baghdad S.C. 2-0 and leapfrog Duhok into first place in Group 2.
The first-half ended goalless, despite both sides sharing a host of good chances. Midfielder Ahmed Fadhel, currently on loan at Baghdad S.C. from Al Shorta, saw his long-range effort beat Mohammed Gassid but strike the outside of the post, whilst Al Shorta's Brazilian forward Caion saw his effort go wide and Makadji Boukar's powerful shot flew just over the bar for the champions.
Egyptian manager Mohamed Youssef took off Amjad Kalaf at the start of the second-half, replacing him with Marwan Husain, but it was right-back Waleed Salem who won a penalty for Al Shorta as he was brought down when through on goal. Dhirgham Ismail coolly stepped up and slotted it to the 'keeper's left, just as he did against Iran in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, to put Al Shorta 1-0 up on 62 minutes.
Cameroonian midfielder Makadji Boukar missed a great opportunity to double Al Shorta's lead when he was put through on goal by Mahdi Kamil, but Al Shorta did eventually find a second in the first minute of injury time when youngster Akram Jassim headed in his first goal for the club from Waleed Salem's corner.
This win sees Al Shorta go a point above Duhok at the top of Group 2, having played a game fewer.
AL SHORTA MOVE INTO SECOND IN GROUP 2 WITH WIN OVER AL MINAA
Caion bagged his first goal for Al Shorta as the champions returned to action with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Basra club Al Minaa at Baghdad S.C. Stadium.
With 25 minutes on the clock, Caion received a pass from Dhirgham Ismail and with his left foot, he fired it across the 'keeper and into the net to put Al Shorta a goal up.
The Brazilian striker, arguably man of the match, continued his brilliant performance into the second-half and played a big part in Al Shorta's second goal on 49 minutes.
His header from captain Amjad Kalaf's cross was parried by the goalkeeper into the path of Iraq international defender Salam Shakir, who smashed the rebound into the back of the net to put the game almost beyond doubt.
Salam went from hero to villain however as his handball gifted Al Minaa an injury-time penalty, which Hussein Ali Wahid duly converted, but it was too little, too late from Al Minaa as Al Shorta moved into second place in Group 2, behind Duhok, having played fewer games than every other team in their group.
AL SHORTA SHARE A POINT WITH AL NAFT IN DULL ENCOUNTER AT AL SHAAB
Al Shorta and Al Naft played out a dull goalless draw at a near-empty Al Shaab Stadium on Sunday as Al Shorta continued their impressive run of four clean sheets out of four games.
Most of the game was played in the centre of the park, with both sides frequently losing possession and Al Shorta certainly were not on the top of their game as pass after pass failed to reach their destination. Al Naft clearly went into the game with a plan to try and deceive the referee as players frequently went down feigning injury or hoping for free-kicks or penalties and these antics slowed down the game significantly, not allowing the champions to put together any flowing attacking movements that fans have been accustomed to seeing with Al Shorta.
Al Naft wasted the biggest chance of the game in the last ten minutes, hitting the crossbar, but neither side deserved three points from the game and the two sides shared the spoils, ending Al Shorta's 100% start to the new campaign.
This result puts Al Shorta on 10 points from four games, having played fewer games than all of the other teams in their group.
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AL SHORTA MAINTAIN 100% START TO NEW SEASON WITH COMFORTABLE WIN
Goals from Alaa Abdul-Zahra and Dhirgham Ismail saw Al Shorta ease to a 2-0 victory at Baghdad S.C. Stadium on Monday.
Al Shorta got off to the perfect start against the newly-promoted side with Alaa scoring his second goal in as many games after just three minutes, heading into the back of net after the ball was flicked on from a corner. 21 minutes later Alaa missed a great chance to double Al Shorta's lead, and the champions went into half-time a goal in front.
Al Shorta went 2-0 up on 65 minutes, with Brazilian forward Caion skipping past a defender and playing Dhirgham through on goal who showed composure to delightfully dink the ball over the on-rushing 'keeper. Al Shorta went down to ten men near the end of the game when Makadji Boukar received a second yellow card, but that did not affect the result and Al Shorta could afford a missed chance from Alaa Abdul-Zahra on 85 minutes when his effort crashed against the crossbar.
The full-time whistle blew to signify that Al Shorta had won their third game from three, conceding zero goals in the process. Their next game is against Al Naft at Al Shaab Stadium in six days' time.
Click here to see the goals of the game.
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ALAA'S FIRST GOAL SEES AL SHORTA COME OUT ON TOP IN BAGHDAD DERBY
Iraq international Alaa Abdul-Zahra's first competitive goal in an Al Shorta shirt saw Al Shorta overcome Al Talaba at Al Shaab Stadium in the derby.
The first chance of the game fell to Al Talaba's Usamah Ali who saw his free-kick sail just over the bar. The poor surface of the pitch at Al Shaab Stadium led to the sides playing more long balls but Al Shorta slowly began to dominate proceedings and Makadji Boukar missed two great chances either side of a Nashat effort that went wide as the champions asserted their dominance over the game.
Mohamed Youssef took off captain Nashat Akram on 58 minutes and replaced him with Alaa Abdul-Zahra, and the substitute scored the goal that won the game on 62 minutes, just after Ahmed Ayad's powerful shot had smashed the crossbar. Al Shorta had won a corner which was swung in and met by the head of Marwan Husain. As the ball was looping towards the line, Alaa out-muscled a number of Al Talaba players to nod the ball into the net and open the scoring for the champions. Substitute Caion blazed over for Al Shorta from close range towards the end of the game before Mohamed Youssef brought on defender Ali Bahjat to replace striker Marwan Husain as the Police saw out the game and made it two wins from two in the Iraqi League.
CHAMPIONS START NEW SEASON WITH 2-0 WIN OVER AL NAJAF
Marwan Husain scored on his debut for Al Shorta as the champions started the new season with a win against Al Najaf.
The lack of action in the first-half at Baghdad S.C. Stadium could perhaps be explained by the fact that Al Shorta hadn't played a league game since June but by the second-half they were well in the game and new striker Marwan opened the scoring on 62 minutes when he skilfully chested down Mahdi Kamil's lofted ball in the box and finished past the 'keeper.
Ten minutes later, Al Shorta doubled their lead to put the result beyond doubt. Marwan saw his effort parried by the 'keeper, and headed the ball back towards goal where Dhirgham Ismail nodded the ball into the net.
It was a great win for the four-time Iraqi League champions who will face Al Talaba at Al Shaab Stadium in their next game.
Click here to see the goals of the game.
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